Thursday, August 09, 2007

Future schlock

Dear me, I've been a bit slack posting here, haven't I? Blog etiquette demands I should say sorry, but I feel no shame about it. So...

It's no surprise given the amount of sheer bollocks we're confronted with at the moment. Silly season stuff should be meat and drink to someone like me, but it's mostly sub-par this year (Is this Lord Lucan? type of stories are a real sign of desperation.)

Much better is the story that an Israeli physicist has worked out a framework in which time travel is theoretically possible (in much the same way that it is theoretically possible that next year I'll be distracted from posting by Kiera Knightley and Scarlett Johansson rubbing sun cream on each in a wanton fashion by the pool outside and asking me to come lend a hand). In any case, the Telegraph even adorns the story with a few talking heads on what they would do given access to a time machine. For lovers of the obvious it doesn't disappoint, with the obligatory "I don’t believe in murder but I would definitely go back and shoot Hitler". I'm disappointed that no one has gone for the equally obvious arm yourself with a list of Derby and Gold Cup winners and head off with bales of cash, however.

Stephen Hawking isn't buying it, however, with the rather obvious point that we'd surely notice any visitors from the future. “We have no reliable evidence of visitors from the future. (I’m discounting the conspiracy theory that UFOs are from the future and that the government knows and is covering it up. Its record of cover-ups is not that good.)”

Furthermore, the whole killing Hitler idea seems to be problematic. Adopting Stephen Fry's conceit from Making History (which probably came from a different source originally) that things might have turned out worse had Hitler died, it doesn't take a great leap of imagination to envisage a scenario in which someone flies back in time to stop Hitler from being killed, followed by someone who thinks this makes things worse flying back to stop the assassination, and so on. Soon you would have a line of people in strange 21st century garb fighting each other in a Munich beerhall or by an infant's cradle in Austria (you could expand this idea by having the time travelling vigilantes trying to outsmart each other by intervening progressively earlier in the Führer's career, but I don't think I need labour the point any further). I think people would notice this sort of thing, that's all.

In any case, any respectable attempt to stop World War Two would involve stopping World War One. And rather than getting the police in Sarajevo to buck up their ideas or what have you, the proper way to do that would be by stopping the Franco-Prussian war, thereby reducing Germany's military swagger and France's desire for revenge. (Also it would remove the prime source of cheese-eating surrender monkey jokes, but one must make these sacrifices).

Besides, this would be a most agreeable way of altering the course of history. In between gaining the confidence of Napoleon III in order to prevent him from sending that idiotic telegram to Bad Ems (telling him he would live out his days in Chislehurst would be a good way to do it), one could have a whale of a time (funded thanks to one's uncanny ability to pick winners at the race track) drinking champagne, nailing some of the celebrated courtesans of the era, frequenting saloons and, perhaps, ripping off some poems from the likes of Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Mallarmé (one would start a few years before the war to fully immerse oneself in the era).

It's either that or setting up diversity awareness workshops for the lads heading off to the Crusades.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Glamourpuss said...

I like the idea of quaffing champagne and nailing famous courtesans, most distracting. Better than watching actresses with suncream, surely?

Puss

4:02 pm  

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